Gliding has often been described as the purest form of flying experience. A glider – also known as a sailplane – is a small, sleek aircraft without an engine designed to maximise the free energy of rising air.
As with all fixed wing aircraft the wings create lift and the basic controls act in exactly the same way – the elevator controls pitch or attitude, the ailerons roll the aircraft, and the rudder controls the yaw. Together they are used to manoeuvre the glider in the air. A glider’s design gives a very shallow glide angle – depending on the glider, for every 1 kilometre (3280ft) of descent the glider may fly up to 50 kilometres forwards.